Price of pint in Scotland could rise by 50p, warns SBPA

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Scottish government Beer duty Scotland

Concerned: Patrick Browne, chief executive of SBPA
Concerned: Patrick Browne, chief executive of SBPA
The price of a pint in Scotland could rise by fifty pence if the Scottish government pushes ahead with plans to introduce minimum unit pricing on alcohol, and takes over alcohol excise duties from Westminster.

That is the view of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA), who issued the warning in a response to the Scottish Parliament’s consultation on the Scotland Bill, which proposes giving greater financial powers to the Scottish Parliament.

In its response, the SBPA explained: “In order to deliver the Scottish Government’s stated aim of “taxing away” the revenues generated by the introduction of minimum pricing at a rate of 45 pence per unit of alcohol with no benefit to producers or retailers, we estimate that the Scottish Government would need to increase beer duty in Scotland by 102%.

“On the basis of a 4% pint duty (and the VAT on that duty) the tax a pint of beer in Scotland would go up from 50.6 pence to 102.2 pence, with a consequent commensurate increase (of 50 pence) in the price of a pint of beer.

“It should be noted that the alcohol duty on beer (Beer duty) was increased by 7.2 per cent in the March 2011 Budget. The total increase in beer duty since March 2008 stands at 35.4 per cent.”

Patrick Browne, chief executive of the SBPA, said: “This would be disastrous for Scotland’s pubs if the Scottish Government used control of alcohol excise duties to tax pubs for a benefit they never got from minimum pricing of alcohol.

“On average three pubs in Scotland are closing every week and a fifty pence hike in the price of a pint would make it even more difficult for Scotland’s pubs to continue to trade.

“Hopefully the Scottish Government see sense and rule out any beer duty increases for pubs when they are already charging prices which are well above any minimum price the government could introduce.”

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